By Steps to Recovery on November 23, 2012

I have to say, man, it really feels good to wake up after a holiday not feeling like crap. Or, for me, to wake up any day not feeling bad. When I was in my addiction I used everyday, so every time I slept I always woke up feeling so out of it and sick. Not these days, but so many of my friends still wake up up the day after a holiday really feeling it. I don’t miss that at all.

This is the holiday season, and it’s just beginning. It’s very festive and so many people associate that with partying. People often build traditions around holidays and partying, but as recovering addicts and alcoholics it is important to create new holiday traditions that are supportive of our recovery or, if we can’t avoid the old ones, to make sure to have a lot of support during the ones we need to attend. Just remember that there is nothing wrong with making the decision to decline holiday party invitations. You have to put yourself and your recovery first.

Family and work parties often involve alcohol. Even if they offer non-alcoholic beer or wine, it’s important to avoid partaking as this can be a very triggering situation. It’s not worth putting yourself in the position of potential relapse. Also, When going to work or family holiday parties, take someone with you that understands what you are going through who can provide support. Maybe just stay for the meal or for an hour or so. Listen to your instincts, when it’s time to go it’s time to go.

Make sure to have your own transportation. If you are relying on someone else for a ride, you don’t have complete control over taking care of yourself and your needs. If you don’t have a car, be prepared by knowing the bus routes and schedule, phone numbers for cab companies or other public transportation. Maybe you can have a reliable friend waiting to give you a ride if necessary. If you are in early recovery especially, or having a hard time, don’t volunteer to be designated driver. You don’t want to be caught waiting on other people when you need to leave.

It is possible to go to holiday parties and survive. But if you are not in a good place with your recovery, or if you just don’t have someone available to offer you the support you need, it’s best to find clean and sober holiday party alternatives. Stay home with your family, connect with the people in your meetings or groups, find out what they are doing, see if you can join them. There are a lot of people out there who are just like you, who are ready to help out.

What are your plans for the holidays? What do you do to stay clean and sober and embrace recovery during the holidays?